Friday 30 October 2020

A Place for Everything ...


A place for everything and everything in it's place ... oh how I wish this were true for the whole flat!!

But at least I now have my blogging and office station in place.  Sitting tapping away at my laptop on the bureau with the chaos of the rest of the stuff that still needs doing either behind me or in the other room I can pretend that life is organised and sorted.

I currently have a bit of a cheeky chappy fitting me a television aerial to the side of the flat, so I will be back to television reception for the weekend ... yay.  

Quick Tip:  never accept the first quoted price from a company no matter who they are.  His first quote for installing and supplying the aerial, and running a cable into the socket in the flat was for £169.99.  I let my face drop and said 'I didn't expect it to be that much', he quickly said 'What sort of price did you expect it to be?', I said 'At the very most £120'.   'I'll go and have a word with the office' he said.  Two minutes later he came back in and said 'yes, they agreed I can do it for that price'.  It seems a lot of money until you break it down, once I have the aerial I have no other television costs, apart from the TV Licence obviously which I have already changed to this address, as I watch on a Freeview box that records and rewinds/fast forwards etc.  So as a monthly rate over the year I expect to be here it's not too bad, and in my opinion in these strange times it's worth every penny for a years entertainment.

Anyway ... back to the bureau, as soon as I finished blog posting yesterday, well maybe after a bit of blog hopping a few cups of coffee, I set too filling the bureau with all my bits and pieces.  It was just so nice to have a piece of furniture I could put things away into.  Every basket or box emptied is like a whoosh of relief.

It didn't take long to find a place for all my bits and bobs.

I broke off for a sit down and a spot of well balanced lunch before the next stage.

Lining the lower drawers.

I cut out the paper for the top one and then thinking I was being very sensible, used this piece as a template to cut two more pieces of wallpaper the same size ready to go in the next two.  Yep, I completely forgotten that the top drawer is obviously narrower than the lower two due to the runners that sit on either side of it to support the flap when it is down.  Luckily I had a full roll of wallpaper so I cut out two more larger pieces that actually fitted.

Mission accomplished.  

Now the top two drawers hold all my stationery items and the bottom one is a sort of tool box of all the odds and sods that normally live in that dreaded 'kitchen drawer of doom' that we all have, and my kitchen drawer has space for much needed kitchen storage.

Tomorrow I will be sorting out the myriad of baskets that are holding bathroom stuff, and hopefully there will be a place for everything.

Sue xx


Thursday 29 October 2020

Mess, Mayhem and Ongoing Reorganisation


Mess and Mayhem ... it sums it all up nicely.

I'm in that familiar fug of being surrounded by all my possessions and needing to sort out my living.  In my years on this earth I have now moved house sixteen times, the last eight of them in the sixteen years I have known Alan so I know things will get better, indeed with each passing day something gets better. 

 A kitchen roll holder screwed onto the side of the kitchen cupboard means two items off the worktop and paper towels suddenly being where I can find them without having to search ... yes it's the little things that count.  Although the clock I had put up in the bedroom launched itself back off the wall just as I was getting ready to sleep last night 😄😆

But I've known from arriving where the coffee area was ...

... and Suky's doggy eating and drinking station was quickly established.

With no oven ... it's SO filthy I wouldn't dream of using it and I'm currently awaiting a call from a professional oven  cleaning service ... and no will to cook on the hob, my tea for my first evening was a plate of cheese and crackers with a nod to salad thrown in for health's sake.  Accompanied by my last can of cider as a house-warming party of miniscule proportions.

I knew I had to be up early yesterday to go back to the Van to retrieve the contents of two forgotten about drawers.  I thought I had checked everywhere so carefully and it wasn't until bedtime and me needing a tee-shirt to sleep in, that the penny dropped ... it and more of my clothes were still in the Van!!   

I was there for 8.30am, half an hour before the office staff arrive for work.  I quickly let myself  in and filled a bag with my forgotten clothes and then left as quietly as I had arrived, checking on my way out that I had left no muddy footprints on my beautifully cleaned floors.  We still luckily each have a key to the Van and will keep them until it is sold, so that is how I was able to get back in.  It is still ours and our responsibility until someone else signs on the dotted line.

Being three miles closer to the motorway I decided I would make an early call to Dunelm to see what I could sort out for storage for my clothes at the flat.  I haven't owned a wardrobe in years, the Van obviously had all built in furniture and back home in Wales the wardrobes are also built in.  So I had had the forethought to ask Alan to bring the clothes rail that we used to use at car boot sales with him last weekend.  But that was going to be no use for the knicks and socks etc that I had just rescued from the Van.

It didn't take me long to find these, absolutely perfect as they can go on any hanging rail.  I also bought myself a few other bits and pieces that were very necessary, and treated Suky to a new dog bed from Pets at Home.

It works a treat, although I might actually pick up a couple more of the drawers next time I'm nearby as they will be so much better for keeping the dust off things.

Another couple of new purchases over the weekend were from much closer to home.  I called in the Hospice charity furniture shop again and spotted this bureau that I had seen the week before.  It had been reduced to half price and was now £75 ... it just had to be mine.

The mirror above it was from another little shop on the High Street and for just £20 it also was destined to come home with me.  That perfect mustard colour on a genuine old bevelled edge mirror, just gorgeous.

The inside of the old bureau delights me.

All those letter racks, a pen holder and indent for an ink pot.

Little nooks and crannies that will hold all my office and stationery wares.

Those delightful little drawers.

Is there anybody else that loves little nooks and crannies of usefulness as much as me or am I sadly on my own in this ... I have a hopeful feeling that I am not alone!!  😉

Yesterday I gave it a thorough clean, and found an old bank statement tucked away down the back of the drawers that let me in on the fact that the bureau's previous owner was also called Susan!!  Todays main job is to line the larger bottom drawers with some of a roll of wallpaper I picked up in a different charity shop as they are slightly more marked inside than the lovely little top ones.  And then I will be filling the whole bureau with as much as it can hold, including all my tools and bit and bobs that are currently on the kitchen worktop and in one of the drawers, which will then free up a kitchen drawer for a bit more re-organisation.  Then hopefully I will start to be able to find at least some of my things without a full scale hunt around the flat.

Oh, I would love to have your opinion.

Do you like the header?  It is a photograph of the start of the riverbank twenty paces from my front door ... or did you prefer the simpler worded heading that just said A Small and Simpler Life.  I just can't make up my mind at all so some input would be very welcome.

Sue xx

Tuesday 27 October 2020

It's Here at Last - Moving Day

Like any good blogger on moving day my computer will be the last thing to be packed away, so here I am drinking coffee and tippety tapping away on the keyboard.  I thought I had done a really good job in moving everything over the course of the last week, car load by car load.  

At first glance you would think so wouldn't you!!

But then last night I lifted the sofa cushions to get to the storage area underneath where I knew the salt crystals and a big box of dehumidifier plastic thingies to put them in that we use when the Van is closed for the end of season were ... and I found a great big vacuum bag of duvets and more bedding which will make for a whole boot full for my little Fiat.

I am running to no definite timetable ... except one of my own making ... but I want to hand the keys in this afternoon, so I will be making a run to the flat to empty the car of this load and then one final return to the Van for a good clean of the floors and steam of the carpets.

Then the keys will be handed in ready for hopefully some viewings in the next few weeks.  As Alan said on the phone last night it's the end of an era.  Another chapter of our lives completed and enjoyed, time to move on to the next chapter.

Small town living here I come.

Sue xx


Monday 26 October 2020

One Final Day and Night at the Van


Today is my last full day at the Van.

I am busy packing up virtually everything, just leaving myself enough food for my tea and one of everything I might need ... plate, cup, glass, knife, fork, spoon etc.  As I go round picking up the bits and pieces that are left and stuffing them in my usual haphazard way into bags I am giving the Van a really good clean ready for it going up for sale on Wednesday.  When it appears on the company website I'll share a link so you can see how it looks.

Alan was an amazing help over the weekend, he came through in our Mitsubishi truck with a few things from home for me.  My double bed and it's bedding, my little green 'alien' storage box, a large plastic box of kitchen items that I had packed up when I was last back in Wales, my clothes rail and a few other bits and pieces that have disappeared into the flat.

Once we had unloaded it at the flat on Saturday we went back and reloaded the truck with all the larger pieces from the Van, the bench from the garden, the tin bath ready for some Winter replanting, some large boxes and another set of filled bags.

Once we had unloaded the truck, he put up some shelves for me, assembled the bed frame and helped with a few of the heavier jobs.  Then we treated ourselves to a spot of late lunch before heading back to the Van to get on with some vital office work.  The only reason Alan was able to come out of Wales is that our company handles a type of work that gives Alan key worker status for travelling and we needed to sort out some of those work things together.  Now that has been dealt with he will be able to abide by the full Welsh lockdown and remain based in Wales until it is over or at least changes again.

Having the truck here for two days though was such a huge help.

My bedroom on Friday ...

... and then with the double bed in place and the net curtains hiding the worst of the horrible blue venetian blinds on Sunday afternoon.

Today I am doing one full car load and unpacking the bags into the spare room so I can bring them back to fill one last time tomorrow, when I will be handing in the keys of the Van.  While Alan was here we signed the contract for the caravan  park to act as agents and sell the Van for us, we have our fingers crossed it sells quicker than the house in Wales!! 

Then it will be time to head down the road into my new home town with the last of my bits and pieces.  For someone who thought she was minimal this Van sure held a lot of stuff.  Something I will be rectifying over the next few months.

Sue xx

Saturday 24 October 2020

A Bit of Retail Therapy

I've been trying to avoid the shops as much as possible, but yesterday I decided to treat myself to a spot of retail therapy and buy some things for my new home.  I headed up the M6 to Dunelm near Morecambe, crossing no county borders and staying within the new rules as I understand them ...does anyone actually really understand them?

It was a one off, and I did really need some bedroom curtains before I move into the flat at the weekend, so I decided to allow myself this one outing.

I did well, I got myself a new clock, a furry throw for the sofa, net curtains for all the windows to hide the horrible but sort of effective blinds.  The very amenable sales lady cut them all to size for me with her nice sharp scissors and purpose-built cutting table.  It would have been a horrible struggle with my little scissors and on the floor to cut 14m of net curtaining into one four metre length and five two metre lengths.  So now they are all ready to go up.

I also got myself another four plug adapter, as I realised yesterday that the kitchen only has three sockets above the worktop.  One will need to be for the electric kettle, one for the toaster and one for the microwave that I have yet to purchase.  I do need to be able to do other things at the same time, so this was a very necessary purchase.

The three new lampshades are for the living room and the two bedrooms, the black shades that are currently in the flat just don't let enough light through, and I really don't want a dismally dark Winter just for the sake of the £20 they cost me.

The bargain of the day was two pairs of curtains for the larger bedroom reduced to just £12.50 a pair.  The pair I got for the smaller bedroom, which has a larger window were just £35 at full price, so I am really happy with such a small spend.

As you can see I seem to be going through a 'mustard phase' at the moment.  It's a lovely colour for this time of year, bright and yet cosy and a colour that is totally new for me.

Oh, and I also got a full length mirror which is something I've been meaning to get for myself for ages, and it will brighten up the end of the hallway beautifully.  A bargain at just £10, and luckily it just about fitted in the car.

It made a nice change to stay away from the flat for a day, but tomorrow I'll be back there putting all my new purchases into place and seeing how they look.

Sue xx

Friday 23 October 2020

Facebook Memories


Facebook Memories throws up virtually every day all sorts of memories both good and bad.  

Meme's shared through dark days or happy carefree days, fun animal clips that you loved enough to share with your family and friends, missing animal posts that you shared back in 2014 ... did Max ever find his way home? ... incomplete clips that just leave you puzzled and are deleted so next year won't be quite so puzzling when it comes around again, and sometimes truly lovely family memories.  It labels them with the year and this is what I woke up to this morning.

Seemingly on this day last year I helped Mum to hang this wonderful painting on her wall, done by my younger son of himself and his first meeting with his Granddad.

It meant a re-distribution of other family photos into a little gallery style display. 

And seemingly we did it all with the teeniest of tiny tools. 😄

It seems so much longer than one year ago.  

From seeing Mum on average forty five plus times a year, most weeks on a Wednesday, and us being ladies that lunch and pretty well known by the staff in the Altrincham branch of Wyevale/Dobbie's, I think I have seen her three times since March.

So much has changed, and it does make you wonder how much will change back?

Sue xx

Thursday 22 October 2020

One Car Load at a Time


I'm quite enjoying this moving in small doses.

No rooms stacked with cardboard boxes and bags waiting to be unpacked, towering over me daring me to sit down and ignore them.  Instead I have a hallway with bags lined up that either get emptied into the appropriate cupboard or room, or else stacked neatly in the larger of the bedrooms for a sort out once I actually have some furniture to put their contents into.

Suky is finding this new ritual more normal as the days go on, but for the first few minutes of arriving at our 'small house' she follows me in and out as I empty the car, and then from room to room as I disperse the contents of the hallway.  Then finally she settles in her little bed and snoozes with the radio playing behind her.

As usual I find I am a random packer.  

Here is a bag of towels from yesterdays flat run, with jars of rice inserted into gaps and rather weirdly I found a bag of dog chews at the bottom with a bundle of cutlery wrapped in a tea-towel.  I have just caught myself filling a bag ready for tomorrow, looking at it sat near my feet I see a little plastic box full of Command hooks and conkers, a few coat hangers, a dish and plate wrapped in the wrapper that came off a roll of Who Gives a Crap toilet paper and two dog leads.  I just put things in as I see them, it makes the unpacking at the other end interesting anyway!!

Some of yesterdays bits and pieces in the cupboard.

This corner is already starting to feel like home.

I need to knuckle down and paint my £8 bookcase so my books can go on it. 

"Ooh the bags are all emptied ...

... is it time to go now Mum?"

Sue xx

Wednesday 21 October 2020

It's Taking Shape ... & Spot the Difference


It's beginning to take shape.

I'm pleased I get to use my favourite curtains in here, I originally wanted them for my bedroom but they are much too long for the positioning of the curtain poles in there so the living room has been honoured with them instead.  I think the one curtain at each window look is just about passable, it doesn't annoy me anyway which is all that I ask for.  Unfortunately I can't have one at each end as that annoying little gas meter cupboard is there and I really don't want to pin up or shorten the curtains as they will be moving with me again.

Here's a little Spot the Difference for you.

It's easy ... there are only two additions.  😄

I put four bags of food into the cupboards after hanging the curtains yesterday.  They absorbed it all very well ... if they are still on the wall with all that weight I will add some more today 😆 

Now it's time to load up the car with todays move-ables. 

Sue xx

Tuesday 20 October 2020

A Beautiful Day ... and a Progress Report


We woke up this morning to beautiful sunshine, well the promise of it on the horizon anyway.  While I stirred with the sounds of the dustbin men emptying the bins into their wagon, Suky stirred with the rumblings of a 'always hungry Puggy tummy'.

The river called ... so this mornings shower was quick and perfunctory, and as soon I was dressed I was out, ready to slowly come to life with the sunshine and the beautiful colours of nature that are all around us at the moment.  

This really is my favourite time of year, I seem to come alive with the cooler weather, the jumpers and pom-pom hats of colder days make me happy.  The hunkering down in the evening absolutely blissful.

But for the moment we have sunshine and it brings alive everything around us, including the ducks who looked to us hopefully for bread as we climbed the steps to the riverbank, but I have none in the Van.  Yes, I know ducks shouldn't eat bread, but this lot seem to thrive on what they can beg from the folk that hire the caravan parks rental Vans that line the start of our riverside walk.  Indeed without the generosity of the campers four little ducklings would not have survived their first couple of months in the world.  They lost their Mum when they were a few weeks old and had not been fully taught the art of looking for their own food, with at least bread to eat and the other ducks not shunning them they have survived to adulthood and are now no doubt good little foragers just in time for Winter.

We didn't walk for long, Suky is low on stamina these days and I want to keep walks small but frequent to help her build it back if she can.  My little furry best friend was nine years old last week, her birthday slipping by in the midst of move planning and a busy mind.  Also my legs are aching after all the up and downing of climbing onto a chair for yesterdays cleaning windows and cleaning of the upper kitchen cupboards.  It was like having a two hour step class but with a step that was at least twice as high as usual, my lack of stamina started to show eventually but even if I'm not in shape the flat is at least beginning to get there.

I didn't get the curtains hung yesterday but all the windows are now sparkling clean ready for them to go up in the living room at least today.

The new white goods are in.

The guys from Curry's installed the washing machine and had it running on a short cycle to check for any potential leaks, thankfully all was good.  The little fridge freezer is brilliant and exactly what I need.  It will be turned on today when I get there after I left it to settle when I came away yesterday.

The kitchen cupboards and walls have all been thoroughly cleaned and I can now begin to take things from the Van to fill the cupboards up.  Even though it is a small kitchen I do have a lot more cupboard space than at the Van, so hopefully all my food stash can be out and in the cupboards ready for use.

Well I should stop waffling and go and fill the car with todays load of shopping bags full of food and a few other bits and pieces.  I am actually enjoying moving home with just a Fiat 500.  It holds just enough to be able to fill it, empty it and put things away without there being too much to do.

Sue xx

Monday 19 October 2020

An Unfurnished Guided Tour


I picked up the keys on Friday, well the single front door key and a key that I cannot find any use for whatsoever.  

I had to check the inventory sent to us by the letting agents so Friday was all about familiarising myself with the flat with Alan's help, and then phoning around to have the services, gas, electricity and water put into my name with payment methods arranged.

I had been told by the letting agent that the person who had been in to do the inventory could not find the electric meter ... anywhere!  They had phoned the owner of the flat who seemingly has only owned it for two months and is not familiar with it at all and she didn't know where it was ... what!!

The owner then got in touch with the person that she had bought it off who explained it was in the front door next to the flat's door, which it turns out leads to the two upstairs flats and is a little communal hallway with the electricity meter cupboard.  She found what she thought was the key to it and dropped it off at the agents.  It was not the key to the communal door it was another front door key to my flat, so we still had no access to the meter.  I took a deep breath and buzzed one of the upstairs flats and a lovely chap called Brian came down and let us in.  We managed to read the meter after a lot of faff, we had never seen one like it and it was different from the other two in the cupboard.  Seemingly it's one of the earlier Smart Meters.  Brian then kindly lent me his hallway key to go and get a new one cut for myself.

Now this should have been a two minute job as the little Timpson's franchise is just across the road from the flat, so off I trotted leaving Alan pottering in the flat, only to see a note on the shop door ... 'Closed Until Thursday Due to Illness'.  Gosh this was turning into a farce and a half.

I popped in the discount shop near the flat and asked a lady stacking shelves there if there was anywhere else in town that could cut keys and she directed me to the Car Care shop right at the opposite end of the High Street.  So off I trot ... only to be stopped in my tracks at the Hospice Shop window.  There in prominent position was an almost new two seater sofa for £95. 

Temporarily forgetting all about keys and the cutting of, I went in asked if I could sit on it, yep, lovely and comfy and promptly paid for and arranged delivery of the sofa for the next day.  Back to business and I went up the road got a key cut and got back to Alan at the flat half an hour later.

Fate works in mysterious ways ... I wouldn't have passed the Hospice shop if it hadn't been for not having the right key and if the Timpson's shop had been open.

Now before I set off for the flat to take delivery of my fridge and washing machine and to hang my curtains, how about a little guided tour of the flat, all photos taken from the letting agents advert.

The living room, the biggest room in the flat.

The kitchen which is not as big as it looks here.  I would love a camera lens like the estate agents use, everything in my life would be so much bigger

The larger of the two bedrooms.

And the smaller one, which I think will be the one that I will use as I quite like the idea of having just a bed and two bedside tables in the room that I sleep in.

The whiter than white bathroom.

And a reminder of the overall floor plan.

I will take my camera and take some more photos for posterity.  I do like a good before and after and  I need to get a few shots to send to the letting agent and owner as previous occupants have left a large burn mark on the worktop cleverly hidden by what appeared to be a stuck down marble board and the oven is an absolute disgrace.

Sue xx